Last fall I purchased Edie Melson's book, Maiden of Iron, at the Write2Ignite conference and I just got around to reading it. Who knew that such a fabulous story was quietly sitting on my shelf waiting for me to plunge into?
If you (or a middle grade or young adult reader you want to give this book to--after you read it) love books that include espionage, a threatened monarchy, dirigibles, dungeons, duals, germ warfare, childhood friends who can't seem to figure out that they love each other, Robin Hood and Maid Marion, revenge, dying children, a wedding that should never happen, and fantastic science-fiction-steampunk inventions--then, this is the book for both of you.
Maiden of Iron has all of this--plus great writing, terrific pacing and tension, two points of view (AND an omniscient point of view-- trust me, it works!), two brave protagonists, and an antagonist that you want to detest! What more could a reader ask for?
I normally take my blog readers through the plot of a book, but I think the description above should whet your appetite. But just so you can see what I mean, here are a few snippets.
Lady Marion Ravenswood leaned back on her elbows and kicked at the tunnel grate. The long, black leather duster had been a good choice, protecting her trousers from the dirt and chill, but she should have thought to bring an oil can as well. The humidity in these steam tunnels played havoc with iron, and things were always rusting shut.
"Come on girlie, put a little weight behind it." Gretta, also in men's attire, squatted in the tunnel behind Mairon, looking more at home in the breeches than any lady of quality ever should. "We need to get in place."
Marion took a deep breath, made a conscious effort to ignore the stench, and kicked again, sending the metal grate tumbling to the floor." (p.1)
Are you intrigued? Here's more later in the chapter:
Even if he couldn't see what was happening, the noise around Robin proved the little minx was making good her threat to steal his gold. Bested in front of his men--by a girl no less. Well, no longer a girl. The glimpse he'd had was of a striking young woman. As he struggled with his bonds, they began to loosen. Beautiful or not, perhaps he'd turn the tables on her yet.
"You know we'll be long gone before you wiggle free." Marion's voice was low and close. (p.9)
And from the opening of Chapter 4 where the reader meets the antagonist:
Lord Stanton stepped away from the doorway to examine the stallion as the groom led him into the bright sun of the stone-cobbled yard. Edward's chest expanded as he gazed on his latest creation. Easily eighteen hands, but not just the size distinguished this equine. Man O' War was the perfect union between horse and machine. The technology he used integrated the latest steam devices grafted on and within a living, breathing animal. The massive hindquarters were a miracle of intricate cogs, pistons, and flesh. (p. 42)
I am giving away my gently read autographed copy of this book. Leave me a comment with your email address by 6 PM on September 4. If you're reluctant to leave your email address just send me an email and I'll enter your name.